Over the past few years, AJ Fernandez has worked with Altadis USA across its many brands to produce several cigars. When it comes to the H. Upmann brand, there is quite a strong track record both from a commercial and critical standpoint. This includes the H. Upmann Nicaragua by AJ Fernandez and the limited edition H. Upmann 175th Anniversary by Altadis USA. Toward the end of 2021, came the word of another H. Upmann and AJ Fernandez project known as the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage. This cigar would be launched the following month at the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) 2022. Today we take a closer look at the H.Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage in the Toro size.
The H. Upmann has its origins back in Cuba where founder Hermann Upmann opened his first cigar factory in 1844 (thus the name of the cigar here). Upmann was a German banker who in 1844 went to Havana Cuba and invested in a cigar factory and produced the H. Upmann brand. The company went bankrupt in 1922 and the name (and production) was eventually acquired by Menendez y Garcia Co. – the company that made Montecristo. The Cuban Revolution led to the nationalization of Cuban cigar companies – including H. Upmann. As a result of this, Menendez and Garcia would move the brand to the Canary Islands, then to the Dominican Republic. The brand would eventually come under the ownership of Altadis who would produce H. Upmann Cigars in the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and through AJ Fernandez in Nicaragua.
Without further ado, let’s break down the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage features extra-aged tobaccos including a Brazilian Mata Fina triple fermented wrapper over a Nicaraguan Habano binder and Nicaraguan and Brazilian fillers. Production is handled at Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Brazilian
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua SA
The H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage is available in five sizes – each presented in 20-count boxes.
Corona: 44 x 5 1/2
Robusto: 52 x 5
Toro: 54 x 6
Torpedo 52 x 6 1/8
Churchill: 54 x 7
The Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper of the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro had a roasted espresso bean color to it. The surface of the wrapper was slightly toothy. There was not much in the way of oil on the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
There are two bands on the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage. The primary version has a darker blue background with gold font. The center of the band has the signature sunburst logo of the H. Upmann brand. Above the sunburst is the text “H. UPMANN” arranged in a curved fashion. Just below it is the text “1844” (the year the brand was founded) and “NICARAGUA”. The remainder of the band has gold and red adornments.
The secondary band rests just below the primary band. It is a dark blue-colored band with gold trim. At the center of the band is the text “AJ FERNANDEZ” in gold font. To the left and right is the text “H. UPMANN” in red font.
Prior to lighting up the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw delivered notes of coffee, cedar, and earth. This was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience in my opinion. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro started out with notes of coffee bean, earth, cedar, stone fruit, white pepper, and a slight spicy cinnamon note. Bear Duplisea on The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable 6 Show compared this spicy cinnamon to a “red hot” candy. The coffee bean notes moved into the forefront with the earth, cedar, stone fruit, pepper, and spicy cinnamon secondary. Meanwhile, there was a combination of cedar and white pepper on the retro-hale.
The second third of the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro saw a similar flavor profile to the first third, but any of the flavors were richer. This included the coffee bean notes in the forefront with the earth, cedar, stone fruit, pepper, and spicy cinnamon out there. During this phase, there also was a slight increase in the pepper notes. The bigger change on the retro-hale saw the pepper diminish. The cedar notes and some of the stone fruit was now present on the retro-hale.
The final third saw the coffee bean notes remain in the forefront. There was another increase in the pepper. The cedar and earth notes remained in the background. Most of the spicy cinnamon flavors had now dissipated. As for the stone fruit note, it was replaced by a bittersweet cocoa note. This is the way the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
The H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro maintained a relatively straight burn line and straight burn path. Along the way, the cigar did require several touch-ups. While the touch-ups did their job to keep the burn on track, there were more touch-ups than I preferred. The resulting ash was silver-gray with some dark spots. This ash skewed toward the firmer side.
The burn temperature of the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro was ideal. It is worth noting that on two of the samples smoked, the burn rate was on the fast side during the first half. In the case of both of these samples, the burn rate slowed down in the second half. These burn rate changes had no adverse effects on the smoking experience.
The draw to the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro performed stellarly. This had a touch of resistance which is something that I like. At the same time, this cigar was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
Overall the H. Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage Toro delivered the total experience. It fires on all cylinders: flavor, balance, complexity, and construction. In particular, I want to point out the flavor were not only excellent, but they were some of the more unique flavors I’ve gotten from a cigar. The flavors also played well together – almost like a symphony orchestra. In the end, this is an excellent job by the team of Rafael Nodal and AJ Fernandez. This is a cigar I would recommend to a more experienced cigar enthusiast, but certainly would not discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again and give consideration for a box purchase. Coming in at 91 points, this cigar exceeds the threshold for the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Coffee Bean, Stone Fruit, Cocoa, Spicy Cinnamon, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable
In June 2022, this cigar was featured on The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable #6.
Note: Due to age restrictions, you may need to click Watch on YouTube below to view.
News: Altadis USA. to Launch H.Upmann Nicaragua AJ Fernandez Heritage
Source: Altadis USA
Brand Reference: H. Upmann
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on October 9, 2022 @ 8:17 am